Barolo and Barbaresco : the king and queen of Italian wine by Kerin O'Keefe

By Kerin O'Keefe

Following at the good fortune of her books on Brunello di Montalcino, well known writer and wine critic Kerin O'Keefe takes readers on a ancient and in-depth trip to find Barolo and Barbaresco, of Italy's such a lot attention-grabbing and storied wines. during this groundbreaking new publication, O'Keefe offers a complete evaluate of the lovely side-by-side growing to be components of those world-class wines which are separated in simple terms by  Read more...

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Indd 16 • T h e P l ac e , t h e G r a pe , t h e H i s t or y, a n d t h e W i n e 24/07/14 2:29 PM t wo Noble Nebbiolo while the langhe’s unique growing conditions are fundamental in producing beguiling Barolos and Barbarescos, an equally important factor (others may well argue the most important factor) is of course Nebbiolo, the sole grape allowed in both wines and which finds its maximum expression in select parts of the two growing zones. Nebbiolo is one of the world’s most alluring yet infuriating grapes and can cause winemakers both joy and heartbreak.

It is often compared to Pinot Noir, not only because both are extremely site sensitive, but also because like Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo yields complex, longlived wines that are not deeply colored but are stunningly luminous. Perhaps Nebbiolo’s most wonderful trait, however, is its intense aromatics, which change as the wine ages —going from wild cherry and fresh rose petals to forest floor, leather, tar, and balsamic notes. Nebbiolo has long been dubbed Italy’s most noble grape. It was already defined by Lorenzo Fantini as “the Prince of grapes” in his late nineteenthcentury monograph on viticulture and enology,1 and as the “King of Vines” by countless other writers after him.

Managing the leaf canopy is another key component to having healthy and ripe Nebbiolo. “The leaf canopies are trained vertically to avoid shading the bunches, and in summer we have to spend a lot of time eliminating the sterile lateral shoots. Great care is taken to preserve the main shoots and to allow bunches exposure to both sun and air to reduce humidity. Leaves on the main shoots are also crucial because they contribute to grape maturation (through photosynthesis), above all in terms of aroma evolution and tannin development in the final phases of the growing season,” explains Vacca.

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